CURBS gathers intelligence such as live traffic and on-street parking information, safety risks for road users, locations of potholes or road objects, as well as information relating to road or infrastructure maintenance.
Cepton Technologies, a provider of smart lidar solutions, and UK-based IoT solutions company, Vortex IoT, have combined skills to turn UK buses into real-time road inspection tools, enabling a lidar-based vehicle to infrastructure (V2I) solution for urban asset management.
Vortex's lidar-powered Continuous Urban Scanner System (CURBS) enables asset and infrastructure management by identifying surface damage and roadside defects in real time by using 5G wireless technology to transmit the data to road management teams.
This solution uses artificial intelligence and machine learning alongside Cepton's Vista®-P60 high-resolution lidar sensors to create a detailed map of the urban environment. This is done by retrofitting the CURBS product to vehicles to create a real-time 3D scanning and dynamic monitoring system. Mounted on public transportation, such as bus fleets, refuse collection trucks and mobile enforcement vehicles, the lidar-embedded CURBS product is able to pinpoint areas that may need repair to maintenance teams, allowing for the early identification of issues.
CURBS streams the processed information over 5G networks. Crucially, this information helps to not only provide real-time insights to services such as road maintenance, but also to drive intelligent decisions with the goal of optimising traffic management, such as enabling preventive measures in accident-prone areas and improving the efficiency of traffic. These anticipated improvements are intended to ultimately help drive down carbon emission while making cities safer and smarter.
A pilot for the solution is currently underway in the West Midlands in a UK Government-sponsored 5G program called "WM5G", where Vortex has partnered with National Express and BT.
"The mission of the WM5G Transport team is to support 5Ginnovation within the region to make transport networks safer, more sustainable and more intuitive to users," said David Conner, project manager at WM5GTransport. "The CURBS project is a great example of how the West Midlands is leading the way nationally in making our cities smarter and better connected. By enabling powerful connectivity to transfer large amounts of lidar and camera data, 5G supports the generation of 3D maps capable of providing the insights required to enhance road safety and guide the development of smart cities."
Vortex also has additional deployments scheduled with traffic enforcement and smart city management company, Marston Holdings.
"With vehicles becoming increasingly smarter, city infrastructure also demands next-generation innovations to deliver matching intelligence. Smart city solutions like CURBS are set to become commonplace across our towns and cities," said Adrian Sutton, co-founder and CEO at Vortex.
"Public authorities need efficient, scalable ways to manage urban environments, and this becomes even more important as the focus on issues such as decarbonization, sustainability and climate change grows."